Friday, August 31, 2018

Homemade Italian Bread. Homemade Eggplant Parmesan. And, An Old Fashioned Game Of Backgammon.

It's the last day of August. Friday. This week has been a total roller coaster of emotions, people testing my patience, lessons learned, and Lisa and I agreeing that we need to distance ourselves from a few situations and such. That's not a bad thing. With age comes wisdom. With wisdom comes the ability to live, learn, and make changes in a relatively short period of time. That includes differentiating those who keep you in their life because you serve a purpose and those who want you in their life unconditionally. And, going from there...

Lisa had a stressful week at work. She worked later than usual. Each day, after arriving home from work and spending time with our kids, Lisa spent time in her woodshop cutting and sanding pieces for some DIY Dog Mom Projects.

On my end, a dear friend of mine passed away in the wee hours of the morning on Monday. Then, I had a difficult but enlightening conversation with a friend on Wednesday.  Meanwhile, I was amid a painful UTI infection and fighting the nausea of taking antibiotics. It hurt to breathe, walk, stand, and sit.

Then, this morning, I woke up with a sore throat and earache. I know that was the repercussion of taking the last Summer dip in a swimming pool a couple of days ago.

I know better, but I'm a water baby. I can't resist. 

Throughout my Work at Home Dog Mom day hustle and bustle, working on DIY Dog Mom Projects, and conquering desk work, I was popping DayQuil and Ibuprofen every 4-6 hours.  I hadn't eaten all day.

Big. Huge. Mistake. 

I was sick to my stomach and praying to the porcelain goddess for about an hour after Lisa arrived home from work.

After eating some peanut butter and crackers and gulping down a glass of Gatorade, I was fine.

Lisa changed out of her work clothes, spent time with the kids, made sure I was okay, had a snack, and then went outside to tackle the yard work and mowing the lawns.

I gave the kids their late afternoon snack. Spent some time with them. Then, I asked the kids, "How about we make your other Mommy a kick-ass homemade dinner?"

That's exactly what we did. 

Some of our neighborhood family had given us some gorgeous homegrown eggplant and tomatoes.  I made homemade eggplant parmesan and spaghetti sauce.

I also made a few loaves of homemade Italian Bread.

A few hours later, Lisa was done with all of the yard work and mowing. She was quite impressed with the dinner that would be served after her shower and feeding our kids.

By 6:30 p.m., we were sitting at the kitchen table. Playing Backgammon. Enjoying our homemade dinner.

During the middle of our game of Backgammon, Lisa paused. She had the dice in her hand. I looked up. Asked if she was okay.

"Yeah, I'm okay."

"Then, what's wrong?"

"Nothing. Nothing at all."

Lisa tossed the cream colored dice in her hand for a few seconds.

"This is the life. Right here. Right now.

I tossed the chocolate colored dice in my hand for a few seconds.

"Yeah. It totally is."

At that very moment, Coco was sprawled out in the middle of the sofa. Sophie, Lobo, and Willa were napping soundly on the kitchen doggy bed.

Lisa helped herself to more eggplant parmesan.

"No. I mean it. It's been a crappy and stressful week for the both of us. I've trudged through work stress and long hours. You did the same despite not feeling well. Today, you went above and beyond and made an amazing dinner. I got the yard work and mowing out of the way. It's going to be a busy 3 day weekend for the both of us, but we make a great team. Everything will get done."

I knew what Lisa meant.

She was enjoying our dinner. The kids being around us. Playing Backgammon. Time spent together. Connecting. The fresh produce that inspired our dinner.

But, at the same time, I knew she was doing the same thing I was doing. Focusing on the good stuff. The gratitude for the neighborhood family who gave us produce. The ones who extended their condolences. Listened. Made an effort. Were present. Showed up. Extended random acts of kindness. Who went above and beyond with their generosity. Who didn't use "busy" or "tired' as an excuse.

We also noticed the select few who just always show up. When they have a need. When we initiate. When we serve a purpose. When we take backstage while they take center stage. When they bask in the spotlight. Or fool others with their smoke and mirrors charade.

This week, we struggled in more ways than one. 

When we were done with dinner, Lisa packaged up some eggplant parmesan and grabbed a loaf of my homemade Italian Bread to deliver.

The other loaf of homemade Italian Bread, tomatoes, and eggplant will be used to make tomorrow night's fare for our "munchies and drinks" backyard fire.

After I tucked Lisa and the kids into bed for the night, I did something that I don't normally do. I went outside. Sat on the front porch. For a long, long time.

I thought about the changes we made last year. The goals I and we had for this year.

I thought about the changes we have made this year. The goals I and we have and haven't made this year.

I thought about the reasons why we did or did not reach those goals.

That's when it all started making sense.

I thought back to a couple of weeks ago when I mentioned to a neighbor family member of ours that we needed to schedule our last Dip and Dinner night for the Summer season.

The "dip" refers to a swim in their pool.

When I mentioned this, I was so busy and absent-minded that I didn't realize Labor day was this weekend. Originally, we planned or last Dip and Dinner event for this evening.


At the beginning of the week, we had another miserable heatwave. On Tuesday, as I mentioned, I lost a very close friend of mine. He died suddenly. I was a wreck.

Late Tuesday afternoon, I asked if we could do our last Dip and Dinner the following night...on Wednesday.

Their reply?

"Yes. Absolutely."

They didn't think twice. They responded almost immediately. They understood that I needed to be around family. Have a little fun.

On Wednesday, we headed over to our neighbor family's house. Swam. Talked. Laughed. Enjoyed grilled gourmet hot dogs topped with homemade relish and the best potato salad. Watermelon for dessert.

It was a work night for the both of us, but we didn't care.

And, we delivered a bouquet of flowers to someone who needed a bit o' cheer after we got back home.

Our spirits were lifted by the end of the evening.

Tonight, when we sat down to eat dinner, we both felt a bit defeated.

I'm not going to drudge up why and who. What I will say is that we both noticed the efforts of most and the lack of effort with some.

We both noticed the efforts of most and the lack of effort with some.


We chose to focus on the positive. The people who were there and showed up and were present and extended unconditional love.

The rest, well, you learn.

Eventually, the patterns of those select few become more apparent and you realize things will probably never change.

You move on.

Focus on the ones who put in the effort and show up.

Distance yourselves a bit from the ones who don't.

Then, you sit down and enjoy a good old-fashioned game of Backgammon. Enjoy homemade food. The kids at your feet. The daily chaos we know as life.

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